ING and Sri Lankan Central Bank to launch fintech sandboxes

Joining the ranks of UK, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Kazakhstan; the Payments and Settlements Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is in the process of scoping its designated fintech regulatory sandbox; and in doing so, is encouraging participation and engagement from stakeholders. The central bank believes that it will provide innovators with an opportunity to better equip themselves to seek regulatory approval.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has extended its invitation to all entrepreneurial, academic, investor, government, non-government and multi-lateral agency stakeholders; of which includes banks, and non-bank financial institutions and incorporated entities to share their insights on the new sandbox.

Whether having regulatory purposes or product-development ends, sandboxes are becoming a common practice within the financial services industry. For instance, banking giant ING is opening its internal developer portal to coders from corporate clients and fintech startups, providing access to simulated APIs for testing and developing new products. Mimicking regulatory sandboxes, ING’s internal developer portal will contain dummy variables corresponding to PSD2 stipulations. ING is limiting participation to parties that have a direct stake in its products.

Regulatory sandboxes have also seen a recent boom globally, with countries rapidly launching theirs despite the lack of performance data proving that they have any positive impact on financial markets. Some of them espouse broader objectives:  Bahrain, India and Malaysia – have explicitly listed financial inclusion among their key sandbox objectives. Although sandboxes serve to reaffirm institutional commitment to fintech innovation, one of the largest payoffs for central banks is the opportunity to match their regulatory frameworks and compliance procedures to the actual pace of fintech developments in the market. Commercial banks, on the other hand, have a different incentive — the chance to align their product and services to open banking demands.

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